9 Things to do when buying a car

1. QUALIFY YOURSELF:
Want to save yourself a lot of time and aggravation? Before you begin to look for a vehicle, spend the time necessary to review your budget. Determine a target and maximum payment, and match it to the price of a vehicle that will fall within these ranges. In addition, find out how that payment fits into the qualification structure of the lending institution. In the majority of cases, your total debt load--including the new car payment--should be no more than 40% of your total gross income.

2. DETERMINE YOUR NEEDS
Before you go out on the search for the "perfect vehicle," take time to determine exactly what your NEEDS and WANTS are, and most importantly, be sure to distinguish between the two. Many consumers mistake one for the other and end up purchasing a vehicle that is totally wrong for them. Don't put yourself into a financial box because you bought more vehicle than you truly need. The "new car smell" fades quickly but the monthly payments go on and on and on....

3. DO BACKGROUND WORK ON THE VEHICL
Once you have a general idea of the type of vehicle that will suit you, spend the time to do the background work that will disclose advantages and disadvantages. With over 1000 different models available, you will need to eliminate many very quickly. The information needed for this process is readily available and easy to access.

4. INVESTIGATE FINANCING OPTIONS
Just as there are a number of different models of vehicles available for you, there are a number of different ways to handle the financing of the vehicle. Familiarize yourself with the workings of both conventional financing and leasing. Learn how these options work and the advantages and disadvantages of each. Check your credit to make sure that your report is accurate. Compare financing rates before you visit the dealership.

5. CHOOSE THE RIGHT DEALER
There are a number of factors which will determine the ideal dealership for a particular model, including location, service reputation, and price. A mistake here could mean a number of years of frustration and aggravation.

6. DRIVE THE CAR
It is amazing the number of people who will purchase a vehicle without ever having driven it. This is where you begin to make the comparisons not only among competing vehicles but also among competing dealerships. Take the time necessary for proper evaluation of both.

7. FIND OUT ABOUT C.S.I.
A Customer Service Index (C.S.I.) is maintained by each car maker for the dealerships that sell their vehicles. This information is an absolute necessity in the selection of a dealership, since it is the ranking of how an individual dealer satisfies its customers both in sales and service.

8. DO BACKGROUND WORK ON THE PRICE
Becoming educated on the pricing structure of vehicle, including all of the components that make up the dealer cost, is the most important factor in guaranteeing a good price. Get the most current information, including customer rebates and dealer incentives.

9. BE AWARE OF THE TOTAL COST OF THE VEHICLE
The price of the car is only the beginning. Your total cost will be determined by what you pay for the car plus financing, warranties, insurance as well as repairs and maintenance. Investigate, compare and make certain to get the best deal you can on each! Consider the advantages of volume purchasing power. AutoVantage Gold is a full service auto club that may be able to save you money over the term of your ownership. They'll even give you a 3 month trial membership for only $1 and throw in 4 free oil changes ($100 value) as a bonus.